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Mark Bratlie, Fargo, Published December 26 2012

Letter: ND a new Dubai? Be very careful

A letter in the Dec. 23 Forum referred to the following quote by authors Dick Morris and Eileen McGann: “Fargo may no longer be known for the movie ‘Fargo.’ It may become the new Dubai.”

This brings to mind an older saying: “Be careful what you ask for.”

Dubai is best known as a place that displays extravagant buildings and places highest value on extreme oil wealth. And this wealth is definitely not evenly distributed. In fact, Dubai businesses are encouraged to hire people from poor countries. These workers are encouraged to sign decadelong contracts, and then their passports are taken away. Many are forced to live in cramped portables with highly unsanitary conditions. It is deplorable that many of those same workers are helping to build extravagant hotels that cost more to stay in for one night than a foreign worker will make in an entire year.

So, is this the sort of identity that we would like to create for our city and state?

I don’t think that most of our residents would want to veer that far away from traditional Midwestern values. Of course, it’s OK to use a part of the Bakken wealth to create some shiny new buildings. But, hopefully, we will work to become good stewards of our new wealth so that the lives of all North Dakota residents can be enhanced now and in the future.

This sort of “New North Dakota” identity has a much better ring to it than “New Dubai.”